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Jethro Tull - Nothing Is Easy: Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 CD (album) cover

NOTHING IS EASY: LIVE AT THE ISLE OF WIGHT 1970

Jethro Tull

 

Prog Folk

3.84 | 87 ratings

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Progfan97402
4 stars I bought this DVD because I wanted to see some early live footage of this group, just as they were starting to make it big. I have always felt Woodstock was an overrated event (even Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend felt that way, it's little wonder neither destroyed their instruments, the other reason was it was costing them money when they did that, and music stores reluctant to rent their gear to them after hearing their reputation). The Isle of Wight Festival, coined as Britain's answer to Woodstock (although the festival was already held in 1968 and '69, it was 1970 that was their biggest and best known), but to me, it was a much more interesting event. Prog rock groups were featured (I can understand why prog wouldn't be featured at Woodstock, many of those bands were just getting started and were still trying to make it in England, never mind America, but I did see the Woodstock movie and surprised to see someone playing "Beggars Farm" during a sound check), Jethro Tull, ELP, even a little known group called T2. The Doors were there as they didn't make it too Woodstock (I initially believed that Woodstock didn't like the group's dark image, but that wasn't the case), and Hendrix playing his last concert prior to his unfortunate passing. Unfortunately there were lots of uneasy tension going on at the event, as you get to see when you watch this DVD of Tull performing at this festival. This is the same festival that drove Joni Mitchell to tears.

Now for an August 1970 performance, I am really bewildered to no ends why they didn't perform anything off Benefit on this video? It was their latest album, so what gives? It's all Stand Up and This Was material, and they preview "My God" which will eventually end up on Aqualung. Well I found out that the reason no Benefit material ended up on the movie itself was the director apparently ran out of film, so what you see is what you get. Luckily if you have the version with the bonus CD (which is what I have), you get two Benefit songs, "With You There to Help Me" and "To Cry You a Song" that never made it on the film itself. Despite my complaint, these guys put on a great show, despite bad vibes. This was before they were "prog" (as you know from Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play), so maybe the more diehard prog rock fans might not find this entirely satisfying, but Tull fans will definitely go for this! "Dharma For One" is performed in a similar manner to the one on Living in the Past (which that one was from a November 1970 show), that is with vocals and a much more extended drum solo.

Watching this video, you get to see an older Ian Anderson from 2004 sounding all delighted that the era of that festival was the ending of the hippie-era. You also see some of the native inhabitants of the Isle of Wight, all over 50 (likely Tories) complaining about these kids taking over the island and feeling that these shows are there to further their cause. Ian Anderson more sympathized to that over 70 guy who was saying he was opposed to it and he'd rather listen to some Rachmaninoff, even his preludes. I also got a kick off this old lady complaining that there's no use in getting through to these kids. Looks like the generation gap was bad in England at the time. It seems in the late '60s the Isle of Wight was a bastion of conservative, wealthy retirees, and it really showed when you see them on this video and you get to see them clashing here. For the younger side, you can see all wasn't well, you almost wonder if there were going to be riots (this was post-Altamont, after all), with gate crashers, and people running the show saying the audience can't watch Jethro Tull sound check (with Terry Ellis, their manager at the time telling them they have no objection with people watching them). One guy, who seemed to come from Continental Europe complaining to an American girl (who apparently running the event) that she was the "second establishment", and another guy stating it was a "big business trip". If you want to see how the counterculture fell, this is a great document to see why. I got a kick off Anderson stating that the event was something like a cross between Donovan and soccer hooligans.

It seems like everyone started to mellow out when they band actually started to perform.

If you enjoy early Tull, you really can't go wrong with this video. You get a great historic document of the band at the time, and of the coming of the end of the hippie-era.

Progfan97402 | 4/5 |

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